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Finite declarative complement clauses: Lexical and semantic associations

The use of finite declarative verb complement clauses is associated with specific sets of lexical and semantic options in the three syntactic positions of the clause – object, subject and predicate positions. In the object position, verbs that denote a process of communication (as in (1)), a mental process (as in (2)), or a process of causation (as in (3)) are most frequently found.

Example 1

Beyers sy ore is al skoon seer.
Beyers say his ears be.PRS already quite sore
Beyers says that his ears are already quite sore.
Example 2

Ek dink daar steek ’n groot waarheid in.
I think there stick a great truth in
I think there is a great deal of truth in that.
Example 3

Wanbetaling deur hul huurders het veroorsaak dat die eienaars se verbandbetaling nie op datum was nie.
Mis.payment by their tenants have cause.PST.PTCP COMP the owners GEN bond.payment NEG on date be.PST NEG
Non-payment by their tenants caused the owners' bond payments to fall behind schedule.

Certain verbs in this set, especially high-frequency verbs among the communication and mental subclasses, typically associate with the variant Ø+[SVX], while the causative verbs in general, and the lower-frequency verbs among the mental and communication verbs, are more frequently associated with the variant dat+[SXV].

The verb in the matrix clause that takes a subject clause is a copular verb, usually isbe.PRS or its past-tense form wasbe.PST, although verbs like blyremain or wordbecome are also found. More characteristic of subject clause use are the restrictions on the subject predicate. Adjectives that denote epistemic meanings, such as duidelikclear, waartrue or noodsaakliknecessary; or evaluative meanings, such as belangrikimportant or goedgood, are the most common, as illustrated by (4) and (5), but a few abstract noun phrase complements are also found, as illustrated by (6).

Example 4

Dis duidelik dat die Suid-Afrikaanse produk oorsee gesog is.
It's clear COMP the South-African product overseas seek.PST.PTCP be.PRS
It's clear that the South African product is much sought after overseas.
Example 5

Volgens De Lille is dit belangrik dat ouers hul kinders vry van enige stereotipering moet grootmaak.
according De Lille be.PRS it important COMP parents their children free of any stereotyping must raise.INF
According to De Lille it is important that parents should raise their children free of any stereotyping .
Example 6

Vir Juan is dit ’n groot terugslag dat hy nie in die Super14-reeks kan speel nie.
for Juan be.PRS it a big back.blow COMP he NEG in the Super 14-series can play.INF NEG
For Juan it is a great setback that he cannot play in the Super 14 series.

When declarative complement clauses are used as predicate clauses to copular verbs, the copular verb is be.PRS, and to a lesser degree was be.PST, combines with a subject noun phrase that contains a range of abstract nouns (Ponelis 1979:453). While the predicate construction is relatively less frequent than the object or subject clause (see the section on the syntactic positions of the declarative complement clause), a number of nouns can be identified that are typically used with predicate clauses. A number of coherent subsets can be identified among these nouns:

  • descriptions of steps in an argument, such as probleemproblem, gevolgconsequence or gevolgtrekkingconclusion (illustrated in (7))
  • nouns that convey an epistemic meaning, such as feitfact or waarheidtruth (illustrated in (8))
  • nouns that convey an evaluative meaning, such as ironieirony, tragedietragedy or geneukmess (illustrated in (9)).

Example 7

Die probleem is dat hierdie werkswyse tydrowend is.
the problem be.PRS COMP here.this work.way time.stealing be.PRS
The problem is that this method is time-consuming.
Example 8

Maar die objektiewe waarheid is dat hy tyd gekoop het.
but the objective truth be.PRS COMP he time buy.PST.PTCP have
But the objective truth is that he bought time.
Example 9

Die enigste geneuk is dat jy dit moet loop terugvra wanneer jy dit self nodig het.
TK, adapted
the only mess be.PRS COMP you it must go back.ask when you it self needed have
The only trouble is that you have to go ask for it back when you need it yourself.

A second, smaller subset uses the verb blykappear/emerge and the expletive subject ditit, as in (10). The use of blykappear/emerge with declarative complement clauses contrasts with a number of other copular verbs that take interrogative complement clauses (see the section on semantic and lexical associations of interrogative complement clauses), such as lykseem/appear, voorkomappear, voelfeel, smaaktaste, and klinksound(Ponelis 1979:219, 453).

Example 10

Dit blyk dat die Bok-slot wel beskikbaar was vir die toets teen Wallis.
TK, adapted
it appear COMP the Bok-lock indeed available be.PST for the test against Wales
It appears that the Bok forward was available for the test against Wales after all.
[+] Lexical and semantic associations of declarative complement clauses as object clauses

Declarative complement clauses are used as object clauses to a number of verbs, which have been studied in some detail by Van Rooy and Kruger (2016) and Colleman et al. (2016). Some of these verbs are very frequent in Afrikaans and also occur extremely frequently as complement-taking verbs: say, weetknow, dinkthink and globelieve. Based on an analysis of the Taalkommissiekorpus, their frequency as verbs with declarative complement clauses ranges from 1,100 to 200 per million words. Other verbs associated with declarative complement clauses in object position occur at a frequency below 100 per million words.

The four high-frequency verbs occur most frequently with a complement clause in the form Ø+[SVX], although the variant dat+[SXV] is attested in approximately 45% of instances in the case of weetknow, and just below 5% in the case of the other three verbs (Van Rooy and Kruger 2016). These four verbs are also the ones most commonly found with the non-standard form of the complement clause dat+[SVX] in spoken Afrikaans. Examples (11), (12), (13) and (14) illustrate their use without ((a)-examples) and with ((b)-examples) complementisers.

Example 11

a. Sy haar ma is baie swak en word vinnig moeg.
she say her mother be.PRS very weak and become quickly tired
She says her mother is very weak and tires quickly.
b. Die adjunkminister het egter reeds gesê dat wat gebeur het, onaanvaarbaar is.
TK, adapted
the deputy.minister have however already PST.PTCP-say COMP what PST.PTCP-happen unacceptable be.PRS
The adjunct minister has, however, already said that what happened is unacceptable.
Example 12

a. Misdadigers weet hulle kan met alles wegkom.
criminals know they can with everything away.get.INF
Criminals know they can get away with everything.
b. Daarby moet die dader ook weet dat die wegneem van die minderjarige wederregtelik is.
there.to must the doer also know COMP the take.away of the minor against.law be.PRS
In addition, the transgressor should also know that it is against the law to take a minor away.
Example 13

a. Hulle dink dit spook.
TK, adapted
they think it haunt
They think it is haunted.
b. Sommige aspirant-digters lees glad nie poësie nie, maar dink dat elke enkele teks wat hulle skryf, iewers gepubliseer moet word.
TK, adapted
some aspirant-poets read wholly NEG poetry but think COMP every single text that they write somewhere PST.PTCP-publish must become.AUX-PASS
Some aspiring poets don't read any poetry at all, but think that each and every text they write should be published somewhere.
Example 14

a. Ek glo al die WP-ondersteuners in Gauteng sal ons die naweek op Loftus kom ondersteun.
TK, adapted
I believe all the WP-supporters in Gauteng shall us the weekend on Loftus come under.support.INF
I believe all the WP supporters in Gauteng will come and support us this weekend at Loftus.
b. Voorheen het sterrekundiges geglo dat hierdie kolle nie bekwame broeiplekke vir sterre was nie.
before have astronomers PST.PTCP-believe COMP these spots NEG able breeding.places for stars be.PST NEG
Before astronomers believed that these spots were not viable breeding places for stars.

The factors that are important to the choice between the variants of the complement clause are discussed in the section on the construction forms of the declarative complement clause. In this discussion, the focus is on the lexical verbs and semantic classes that typically take finite declarative complement clauses, irrespective of the form of the complement clause, drawing on the findings of Van Rooy and Kruger (2016) and Colleman et al. (2016).

Verbs taking declarative complement clauses represent four semantic classes in the main. Communication verbs, beside say , include verbs like erkenadmit, stelstate, waarskuwarn, verduidelikexplain, skryfwrite, aanbeveelrecommend, ontkendeny, byvoegadd, belowepromise, meedeelinform, argumenteerargue, and bespiegelspeculate.

These verbs represent the act of communication with a range of more specific senses beyond what is contained in say. Some are speech acts other than representatives, such as directives (waarskuwarn, aanbeveelrecommend; illustrated in (15)), commissives (belowepromise, beloofpromise, sweerswear; illustrated in (16)) or declarations (verklaardeclare; illustrated in (17)).

Example 15

Die ondersoekbeampte beveel aan dat die ondersoek na ander koshuise uitgebrei moet word.
TK, adapted
the investigating.official recommend PTCL COMP the investigation to other residences out-PST.PTCP-extend must become.AUX.PASS
The investigative officer recommends that the investigation be extended to other residences.
Example 16

Ek belowe ek sal nooit weer drink nie.
I promise I shall never again drink.INF NEG
I promise I'll never drink again.
Example 17

Die kommissaris het verklaar dat die geskil nie deur konsiliasie opgelos kan word nie.
TK, adapted
the commisioner have declare.PST.PTCP COMP the disagreement NEG through conciliation up-PST.PTCP-solve can become.AUX.PASS NEG
The commissioner declared that the disagreement could not be resolved by conciliation.

Some verbs profile the mode of communication (skryfwrite, e-pose-mail), or the manner in which the communication is presented (skertsjoke, skimphint, rondvertelblab, uitblakerblab), as in (18) and (19), respectively.

Example 18

In ’n brief aan die polishouers, skryf die kurators dat die versekeraar die risiko vir die diefstal moet dra.
TK, adapted
in a letter to the policy.holders write the curators COMP the insurer the risk for the theft must carry.INF
In a letter to the policyholders, the curators write that the insurer must carry the risk of the theft.
Example 19

Die inwoners van Henley-on-Klip is in rep en roer nadat Amerikaanse koerante dit uitgeblaker het dat Brangelina op Kersdag in hul dorpie wil afhaak.
TK, adapted
the inhabitants of Henley-on-Klip be.PRS in move and stir after American newspapers it out-PST.PTCP-blab have COMP Brangelina on Christmas.day in their town-DIM will off.hook
The residents of Henley-on-Klip are all abuzz after American newspapers told the world that Brangelina want to get hitched in their little town on Christmas day.

Other verbs embed the representation in a larger discourse of argumentation (verduidelikexplain, argumenteerargue, byvoegadd), or add the sense that a proposition is revealed to the reader/listener (onthulreveal, biegconfess, bekendmaakreveal), as in (20) and (21), respectively.

Example 20

Ook McHale argumenteer dat daar geen vaste grens tussen die modernisme en die postmodernisme bestaan nie.
also McHale argue COMP there no fixed boundary between the modernism and the postmodernism exist NEG
McHale, too, argues that there exists no fixed boundary between modernism and postmodernism.
Example 21

Die koerant kan vandag onthul dat raadslede die toelaes voortydig gevat het.
TK, adapted
the newspaper can today reveal.INF COMP council.members the allowances before.timeously PST.PTCP-take have
The newspaper can today reveal that council members accepted the allowances prematurely.

Yet other verbs amplify (stelstate, konstateerstate, herbevestigre-emphasise) or hedge the certainty of the statement in the complement clause (bespiegelspeculate, gisspeculate), as in (22) and (23), or deny it (ontkendeny), as in (24).

Example 22

Ek wil dit kategories stel dat die komitee nie enige vertraging gaan duld nie.
I want it categorical state COMP the committee NEG any delay go tolerate.INF NEG
I want to state categorically that the committee wil not tolerate any delay.
Example 23

Daar word bespiegel dat hy die huis vanaand al sal verlaat.
TK, adapted
there become.AUX.PASS speculate COMP he the house tonight already shall leave.INF
It is speculated that he will leave the house tonight already.
Example 24

Die koerant ontken dat hy die mediese rekords gekoop het.
TK, adapted
the newspaper deny COMP he the medical records PST.PTCP-buy have
The newspaper denies that he bought the medical records.

A second semantic class, which is related to communication processes but also shows some semantic similarity with copular verbs that combine with predicate rather than object clauses, are verbs of signification, including betekenmean, impliseerimply, behelsinvolve, bewysprove, verklaarexplain, veronderstelpresuppose, beklemtoonemphasise, bevestigconfirm, bepaaldetermine, volgfollow, benadrukemphasise and suggereersuggest. These verbs tend to take an inanimate subject, often the pronoun ditit, which refers anaphorically to some prior piece of information, and usually take the variant dat+[SXV] of the complement clause (Colleman et al. 2016:116). These verbs postulate relations between propositions, rather than report what some human agent has said. Typical examples of such usage are illustrated in (25), (26) and (27).

Example 25

Dit beteken dat ons net vyf tot nege dinge op ʼn slag kan dink.
it mean COMP we just five to nine things on a time can think.INF
It means that we can only think five to nine things at a time.
Example 26

Dit impliseer dat duisende sprinkane op ʼn klein stukkie grond kan uitbroei.
it imply COMP thousands grasshoppers on a small piece-DIM land can out.hatch
It implies that thousands of grasshoppers can hatch on a small piece of land.
Example 27

Dit behels dat maatskappye verslag doen oor hulle werksaamheid.
it involve COMP companies report do over their activity
It involves that companies report on their activities.

Mental verbs, the third semantic class, introduce the content of an idea, a thought or a realisation. They attribute beliefs to their subjects when combined with declarative complement clauses. Apart from the three highly frequent mental verbs, dinkthink, weetknow and globelieve, other mental verbs that frequently combine with declarative complement clauses are (in order of decreasing frequency in the Taalkommissiekorpus): onthouremember, siensee, voelfeel, hoorhear, besluitdecide, vindfind, vermoedsuspect, verstaanunderstand, wenswish, ontdekdiscover, uitvindfind out, vergeetforget, begrypcomprehend, skatguess/estimate, raaiguess, wisknow, bemerknotice, and ontgaanelude.

A first subgroup of these verbs attribute a state of knowledge to the subject of the main clause, such as verstaanunderstand, begrypcomprehend and wisknow, as in (28).

Example 28

Hulle verstaan dat daar faktore buite hulle beheer is.
TK, adapted
they understand COMP there factors outside their control be.PRS
They understand that there are factors beyond their control.

A second subgroup of mental verbs are sensory verbs in their primary sense (siensee, voelfeel, hoorhear), as illustrated in (29), but these are also used to attribute a mental state rather than a sensory perception to their subjects through metaphoric extension of the sensory verb to a mental state, as in (30).

Example 29

Sy sien dat sy een ooglid begin spring.
TK, adapted
she see COMP his one eyelid start jump.INF
She sees that his one eyelid is beginning to twitch.
Example 30

Sy sien dat sy gedagtes nou agter daardie klipplaat is.
TK, adapted
she see COMP his thoughts now behind there.the rock.slab be.PRS
She sees that his thoughts are on the other side of the rocks over there.

A third subgroup of mental verbs relate to the onset of a state of knowledge, either by deciding something (besluitdecide; see (31)), recalling something (onthouremember; see (32)) or discovering something (vindfind, ontdekdiscover, uitvindfind out, bemerknotice; see (33)).

Example 31

Ek het besluit my heil lê nie in rugby nie.
I have decide my salvation lie NEG in rugby NEG
I have decided that my salvation does not lie in rugby.
Example 32

Ek kan nie onthou dat ek so iets gesê het nie.
I can NEG remember COMP I such something PST.PTCP-say have NEG
I cannot remember having said something like that.
Example 33

Sedert die 1970’s het navorsers en afrigters ontdek dat sterkte- en kragoefening vir byna alle sportsoorte en -aktiwiteite belangrik is.
since the 1970s have researchers and coaches discover COMP strength- and power.excercise for nearly all sport.types and -activities important be.PRS
Since the 1970s, researchers and coaches have discovered that strength and power exercises are important for nearly all kinds of sports types and activities.

Conversely, it can also be attributed to the subject that he/she loses a piece of information (vergeetforget; see (34)) or fails to recall it (ontgaanelude; see (35)). Various degrees of uncertainty can also be expressed if a piece of information is guessed (raaiguess, skatguess/estimate; see (36)), or a particular state of affairs is desired (wenswish, hoophope; see (37)).

Example 34

Hy het skoon vergeet dat sy laai nie gesluit was nie.
TK, adapted
he have clean forgot.PST.PTCP COMP his drawer NEG PST.PTCP-lock be.PST NEG
He clean forgot that his drawer wasn't locked.
Example 35

Dit ontgaan Charlotta nie dat hy oom Petrus nie eens noem nie.
it elude Charlotta NEG COMP he uncle Petrus NEG even mention NEG
It doesn't escape Charlotta's notice that he doesn't even mention uncle Petrus.
Example 36

Wie sou kon raai dat dit so koud gaan wees?
TK, adapted
who should could guess.INF COMP it so cold go be.INF
Who would have guessed that it would be so cold?
Example 37

Ek wens alles was nog dieselfde.
I wish everything be.PST still the.same
I wish everything was still the same.

The final group of verbs that often combine with declarative complement clauses are causative verbs(Colleman et al. 2016:127-128). The matrix clause reports on an initial event that causes a second event, where the second event is reported is the complement clause. These verbs include sorgensure, keerprevent, veroorsaakcause, toelaatallow, verhoedprevent, voorkomprevent, toesienensure, meebringentail, and bydracontribute . Certain uses of the much higher frequency verbs maakmake and helphelp also fall in this category. Typical examples are presented in (38), (39), (40) and (41).

Example 38

Moegheid maak dat sy gelukkig ook droomloos slaap.
tiredness make COMP she happily also dreamless sleep
Tiredness fortunately induces a dreamless sleep in her.
Example 39

Stormweer sorg dat bome sterk hout oplewer.
storm.weather ensure COMP trees strong wood yield
Stormy weather ensures that trees yield strong wood.
Example 40

Hulle moet betrokke raak en probeer keer dat nog ou geboue gesloop word.
they must involved get and try prevent.INF COMP more old buildings PST.PTCP-demolish become.AUX.PASS
They must become involved and try to prevent that more old buildings are demolished.
Example 41

Verskeie faktore veroorsaak dat bejaardes meer blootgestel is aan depressie as andere.
various factors cause COMP elderly.PL more exposed be.AUX.PASS to depression than others
Various factors cause the elderly to be more exposed to depression than others.

Afrikaans often expresses causation with a causative verb complemented by a bare infinitive verb, with verbs such as laatlet, helphelp, and maakmake, as illustrated by (42a), (42b) and (46c). If the second clause requires a subject, i.e. the agent of the second verb, the Accusativus-cum-Infinitivo construction is used, as illustrated specifically by (42b) and (46c).

Example 42

a. Dit het my geloof in ons demokrasie laat wankel.
TK, adapted
it have my faith in our democracy let shake.INF
It made my faith in our democracy falter.
b. Die stres daarvan laat nou sy huweliksbootjie wankel.
the stress there.of let now his marriage.boat-DIM shake.INF
The stress from that has now made his marriage boat rock.

Some verbs, such as dwingforce (illustrated in (43)), verpligcompel and certain senses of kryget, combine with full infinitive complement clauses, alongside some of the verbs listed above such as toelaatallow (illustrated in (44)), keerprevent, and verhoedprevent. The choice between a declarative and infinitive complement to express causation is in part conventionalised: some causative verbs combine only with one type of complement clause, such as laatlet in (42) that always takes a bare infinitive, dwingforce in (43) that always takes a full infinitive, and veroorsaakcause in (45) that always takes a finite declarative complement clause.

Example 43

Selfoonoperateurs dwing jou om 'n SIM-kaart te koop.
TK, adapted
cellphone.operators force you COMP a SIM-card to buy.INF
Cellphone operators force you to buy a SIM-card.
Example 44

Gaan die predikant toelaat dat hy uit die plaaslike kerk begrawe word?
TK, adapted
go the minister allow COMP he out the local church bury.PST.PTCP become.AUX.PASS
Is the minister going to allow that he be buried from the local church?
Example 45

Die ophoping van uitstaande skuld kan veroorsaak dat mense hul huise verkoop.
TK, adjusted
the up.heaping of outstanding debt can cause.INF COMP people their houses sell
The accumulation of debt can cause people to sell their houses.

There are, however, causative verbs that combine with more than one type of complement clause. In such cases, there are slight differences in the construal of the relationship between the two events expressed by the two verbs (initial causation and eventual outcome). The selection of the finite declarative complement clause serves to separate the two events into two clearly separate processes, often consecutive rather than concurrent, as in (46a). With infinitive complement clauses, as in (46b) and (46c), the entire event is construed in one step. If the full infinitive is selected, however, it is often the case that the causation is of an indirect nature, as in (46b), whereas the construal is of a more direct kind with bare infinitives, as in (46c). However, this account, while in keeping with similar accounts in the literature on other Germanic languages (see Egan (2008:204-214) for analysis and discussion of the verb help in English), has not yet been investigated in any depth for Afrikaans and should be treated as speculative at this stage.

Example 46

a. Die oorwinning sal help dat die land weer kop optel.
TK, adapted
the victory shall help COMP the country again head up.lift.PRS
The victory will help that the country lifts its head again.
b. Ek help hom om 'n stok te kies by sommige putjies.
TK, adapted
I help him COMP a club to choose.INF at some holes
I help him to choose a club at some holes.
c. Wie help die kind kersies doodblaas op die verjaarsdagkoek?
TK, adapted
who help the child candles dead.blow.INF on the birthday.cake
Who helps the child blow out candles on the birthday cake?
[+] Declarative subject clauses

Subject clauses that occur in sentence-initial position are rare, which poses difficulties for determining any lexical associations of this subject-clause construction. The examples discovered in the Taalkomissiekorpus show that the copular verb weesbe is used alongside a number of other verbs, while a wide range of possible complements (including predicates and direct objects) combine with the subject clause. This is a highly schematic construction without strong lexical associations. It is restricted to the more formal, written registers, while it is extremely unlikely to occur in spoken language. A few examples illustrating the diversity of subject clause usage are presented in (47), (48) and (49).

Example 47

Dat Nieu-Seeland steeds van nêrens af kan punte aanteken, was duidelik en dat die Wallaby-verdedigingspatroon meer aandag verg as om bloot aanhoudend in hulle vas te hardloop, ditto.
[(SBJ) [(CC) Dat Nieu-Seeland steeds van nêrens af kan punte aanteken]], [(Vpst) was] [(PRED) duidelik] en [(SBJ) [(CC) dat die Wallaby-verdedigingspatroon meer aandag verg as om bloot aanhoudend in hulle vas te hardloop]], ditto
That New Zealand can still score points from nowhere was clear and that the Wallaby defensive pattern requires more attention than simply running into them all the time, ditto.
Example 48

Dat ons nie almal uit een mond kon praat nie en oor bepaalde sake soms selfs teenoorgestelde standpunte ingeneem het, het ons persoonlike geloofwaardigheid by die oorsese kerke versterk.
[(SBJ) [(CC) Dat ons nie almal uit een mond kon praat nie en oor bepaalde sake soms selfs teenoorgestelde standpunte ingeneem het]], [(Vaux-pst) het] [(OBJ) ons persoonlike geloofwaardigheid] by die oorsese kerke [(Vpst-ptcp) versterk]
That we did not all tell the same story and even took opposing viewpoints on some issues, did increase our personal credibility with the international churches.
Example 49

Dat hierdie haat-liefde-verhouding ook 'n vorm van liefhê is, dat "liefde" meer is as "... and they lived happily ever after", is beslis 'n troos in dié land met sy problematiese verhoudinge.
[(SBJ) [(CC) Dat hierdie haat-liefde-verhouding ook ’n vorm van liefhê is], [(CC) dat “liefde” meer is as “... and they lived happily ever after”], [(Vprs) is] beslis [(PRED) ’n troos] in dié land met sy problematiese verhoudinge
That this hate-love-relationship is also a form of loving, that "love" is more than "... and they lived happily ever after", is certainly a consolation in this country with its problematic relationships.

The alternative formal variant of the declarative complement clause as subject clause, with initial empty subject ditit and extraposition of the subject clause, is considerably more frequent in writing and is attested in speech, although at much lower frequency. A number of adjectives can be identified that frequently function as predicate. One set of adjectives denote epistemic meanings and assess the degree of certainty or truthfulness associated with the complement clause. These adjectives, in order of decreasing frequency in the Taalkommissiekorpus, include: duidelikclear, noodsaaklikessential, moontlikpossible, bekendknown, onwaarskynlikunlikely, waartrue, and waarskynliklikely.

Apart from duidelikclear, which sometimes (about 10% of the time) occurs with a complement clause without complementiser datthat, as in (50), all other adjectives combine with complement clauses that take the complement clause with the variant dat+[SXV] almost without exception, as in (51) and (52). It is also only duidelikclear that combines with some regularity with the past tense copular verb wasbe.PST, as in (53), while most other adjectives are almost completely restricted to the present tense.

Example 50

Dit is duidelik hy kry voorkeurbehandeling.
[(EXPL) Dit] [(Vprs) is] [(PRED) duidelik] [(CC) hy kry voorkeurbehandeling]
it be.PRS clear he get preference.treatment
It is clear he gets preferential treatment.
Example 51

Dit is moontlik dat sy aansoek iewers verlore geraak het.
TK, adapted
[(EXPL) Dit] [(Vprs) is] [(PRED) moontlik] [(CC) [(Comp) dat] sy aansoek iewers verlore geraak het]
it be.PRS possible COMP his application somewhere lost PST.PTCP-het have
It is possible that his application got lost somewhere.
Example 52

Dit is onwaarskynlik dat nog oorlewendes gevind sal word.
TK, adapted
[(EXPL) Dit] [(Vprs) is] [(PRED) onwaarskynlik] [(CC) [(Comp) dat] nog oorlewendes gevind sal word]
it be.PRS unlikely COMP more surviors PST.PTCP-find shall become.AUX.PASS
It is unlikely that more survivors will be found.
Example 53

Dit was duidelik dat verskeie boere dit moeilik vind om binne die voorgeskrewe tydperk te dip.
PCSA, adjusted
[(EXPL) Dit] [(Vpst) was] [(PRED) duidelik] [(CC) [(Comp) dat] verskeie boere dit moeilik vind om binne die voorgeskrewe tydperk te dip]
it be.PST clear COMP several farmers it difficult find COMP in the before.written timeframe to dip
It was clear that several farmers found it difficult to dip within the prescribed period.

The other set of adjective complements that combine with extraposed subject clauses are evaluative adjectives, which offer a subjective assessment of a state of affairs that is expressed by the subject clause. Examples of these are: belangrikimportant, nodigessential, jammerregrettable, opvallendnoticeable, interessantinteresting, ironiesironic, goedgood, opmerkliknoticeable, onaanvaarbaarunacceptable, and kommerwekkendworrying.

These adjectives combine with subject clauses that almost invariably take the form dat+[SXV], and a present-tense copular verb, as in (54), (55) and (56).

Example 54

Dit is interessant dat die meeste van hierdie instrumente nie as outentieke barok-instrumente ingespan word nie.
TK, adapted
it be.PRS interesting COMP the most of these instruments NEG as authentic baroque-instruments PST.PTCP-harness become.AUX.PASS NEG
It is interesting that most of these instruments are not used as authentic baroque instuments.
Example 55

Dit is jammer dat so iets gebeur het.
TK, adapted
it be.PRS regrettable COMP such something PST.PTCP-happen have
It is a pity that something like this happened.
Example 56

Dit is ironies dat sommige streke van die wêreld ’n afname in temperatuur as gevolg van aardverhitting ervaar.
TK, adapted
it be.PRS ironic COMP some regions of the word a decrease in temperature as consequence of earth.heating experience
It is ironic that certain regions in the world experience a decrease in temperature as a consequence of global warming.

Ponelis (1979:451) notes that abstract nouns also combine with subject clauses, and lists the example in (57).

Example 57

Dis g’n wonder dat jy laat is nie.
Ponelis (1979:451)
it=be.PRS no wonder COMP you.SG late be.PRS NEG
It's no wonder that you are late.

In the Taalkommissiekorpus, abstract nouns do occur with subject clauses, but with such a low frequency that apart from the prepositional phrase van ADJ belangof ADJ importance and the noun phrase uitgemaakte saakforgone conclusion, exemplified by (58), no other nouns achieve a noticeable frequency in the data.

Example 58

Dit is nie ’n uitgemaakte saak dat ’n nuwe afrigter met dieselfde span dieselfde sukses sal behaal nie.
it be.PRS NEG a forgone matter COMP a new coach with the.same team the.same success shall achieve.INF NOT
It is not a forgone conclusion that a new coach will achieve the same success with the same team.

Ponelis (1979:452) lists experiential verbs such as the following passuit, baatbenefit, aangaanconcern and interesseerinterest, as well as other verbs and verb complement groups such as saakmaakmatter, spreek vanselfbe self-evident and verg moedtake courage. These are relatively infrequent in the Taalkomissiekorpus, but are nevertheless attested, as exemplified in (59).

Example 59

Dit spreek vanself dat ek sy steun baie hoog waardeer het.
it speak of.self COMP I his support very high appreciate have
It is self-evident that I appreciated his support a great deal.
[+] Predicate clauses

The subject noun (or noun phrase) of constructions containing predicate clauses is an abstract noun that most frequently represents an aspect of an argument. Examples of such nouns and noun phrases, in order of decreasing frequency in the Taalkommissiekorpus, are  probleemproblem, rede hiervoorreason for this, gevolgconsequence/result, verskildifference, meningopinion, aanduidingindication, van so ’n aardof such a nature, saakissue, puntpoint, ideeidea, argumentargument, and implikasie hiervanimplication of this.

Examples of declarative complement clauses used as predicate clauses are listed in (60), (61) and (62), to illustrate the use of typical subject noun phrases that are associated with this construction.

Example 60

Die gevolg is dat melksuur in die spiere en die bloed begin ophoop.
TK, adapted
the result be.PRS COMP milk.acid in the muscles and the blood begin up.heap.INF
The consequence is that lactic acid begins to accumulate in the muscles and blood.
Example 61

Die verskil is dat die private verskaffers se benadering meer praktykgerig is.
the difference be.PRS COMP the private provides GEN approach more practice.directed be.PRS
The difference is that the private providers' approach is more practice-oriented.
Example 62

Die rede hiervoor is dat daar ’n verband is tussen motivering en werksbevrediging.
the reason here.for be.PRS COMP there a relationship be.PRS between motivation and work.satisfaction
The reason for this is that there is a relationship between motivation and job satisfaction.

Another set of subject nouns refer to epistemic evaluations, including verwagtingexpectation, feitfact, waarheidtruth, werklikheidreality, and moontlikheidpossibility. Examples of this usage, illustrating typical subject noun phrases, are listed in (63), (64) and (65).

Example 63

Die verwagting is dat rentekoerse onveranderd sal bly.
TK, adapted
the expectation be.PRS COMP interest.rates unchanged shall stay.INF
The expectation is that interest rates will remain unchanged.
Example 64

Die feit is dat daar wetgewing is wat hierdie dinge reguleer.
TK, adapted
the fact be.PRS COMP there legislation be.PRS that these things regulate
The fact is that there is legislation that regulates these things.
Example 65

Die waarheid is dat dit 'n tragiese ongeluk was.
the truth be.PRS COMP it a tragic accident be.PST
The truth is that it was a tragic accident.

A last set of subject noun phrases denote subjective attitudes, including goeie nuusgood news (see (66)), slegte nuusbad news (see (67)), and ironieirony (see (68)). Related to the evaluative nouns are adjectives in the superlative form, such as belangrikstemost important (see (69)), or superlative adjectives in the frame die ADJ.SUPL van allesthe ADJ.SUPL of all (see (70)).

Example 66

Die goeie nuus is dat daar nog baie mense is wat omgee.
the good news be.PRS COMP there still many people be.PRS who care
The good news is that there are still many people who care.
Example 67

Die slegte nuus is dat rooftogte by sakeondernemings toegeneem het.
the bad news be.PRS COMP robberies at businesses PST.PTCP-increase have
The bad news is that robberies at businesses increased.
Example 68

Die ironie is dat skuldgevoelens tot ongesonde obsessies kan lei.
the irony be.PRS COMP guilt.feelings to unhealthy obsessions can lead.INF
The irony is that feelings of guilt can lead to unhealthy obsessions.
Example 69

Die belangrikste is dat ons nie goeie lynstaanbesit kon kry nie.
TK, adapted
the important-SUPL be.PRS COMP we NEG good line.stand.possession could get.INF NEG
The most important (thing) is that we could not get good line-out possession.
Example 70

Die ergste van alles is dat daar 'n kind by hulle is.
the bad.SUPL of all be.PRS COMP there a child by them be.PRS
The worst of it all is that there is a child with them.
  • Hoekstra, Eric2004Withoefaak, withoefolleFriesch Dagblad06-11Taalgenoat en taalgeniet 60
  • Rietveld, Antonius C. M1984Syllaben, klemtoon en de automatische detectie van beklemtoonde lettergrepen in het Nederlands [Syllables, stress and the automatic detection of stressed syllables in Dutch]Catholic University of NijmegenThesis
  • Rietveld, Antonius C. M1984Syllaben, klemtoon en de automatische detectie van beklemtoonde lettergrepen in het Nederlands [Syllables, stress and the automatic detection of stressed syllables in Dutch]Catholic University of NijmegenThesis
  • Rietveld, Antonius C. M1984Syllaben, klemtoon en de automatische detectie van beklemtoonde lettergrepen in het Nederlands [Syllables, stress and the automatic detection of stressed syllables in Dutch]Catholic University of NijmegenThesis
  • Rietveld, Antonius C. M1984Syllaben, klemtoon en de automatische detectie van beklemtoonde lettergrepen in het Nederlands [Syllables, stress and the automatic detection of stressed syllables in Dutch]Catholic University of NijmegenThesis
  • Öhman, Sven E. G1967Coarticulation in VCV utterances: spectrographic measurementsJournal of the Acoustical Society of America39151-168
  • Öhman, Sven E. G1967Coarticulation in VCV utterances: spectrographic measurementsJournal of the Acoustical Society of America39151-168
  • Öhman, Sven E. G1967Coarticulation in VCV utterances: spectrographic measurementsJournal of the Acoustical Society of America39151-168
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